Monday, June 2, 2014

What's So Great About Being A Mom? Well, Let Me Tell You!

I have followed several different blogs over the years and I have found some of them to have valuable information that has helped me to be a better mom and I have appreciated the guidance and tips that some have provided.  Recently, however, there seems to be more negative information out there about how hard it is to be a mom and how it changes your life in inconvenient ways.  You know, sleepless nights, the endless amount of work it is to keep up with cleaning, feeding and training your children and how it ages you.  That kind of stuff.  Waaaahhhhh!

If you are looking for more of the same, close this blog post right now because I am not going to add to this list of negativity.  Believe me, I understand that being a mother is not always easy and there were days for me too when I wanted to run out of the house and just get away from it all but that usually doesn't last for long and you realize that sometimes you need to just slow down.  This can be hard to do but it is possible.

I want to focus on the beauty of  motherhood and the joy that comes from a job that I believe is a calling from God.  This calling is to raise children and teach them to have faith, to have the confidence and will power to live productive and successful lives and also to eventually have a family of their own.

I could blog for the rest of my life on this subject but I think it is important to focus on just a few things that might be helpful to someone else who might be just starting out or maybe someone who is in the middle of those fabulous teenage years. Now these points are all my own opinion and things that I have noted over a lifetime of mothering to be the things that have brought me the greatest joy in my life.

In my opinion being a mother is the most selfless thing you will ever do as a woman so how great is it that other than devoting your life to God and sharing your life with your spouse that being a mother will bring you the greatest joy in life? Not only that, mothering your children is a job you do hand-in-hand with God and your spouse and you are dependent on His aid so you have the opportunity for extra blessings and guidance. That is an awesome thought!

So here are my top 10 thoughts on what's so great about being a mom:

  1. Your children love you unconditionally - We all know this right off the bat because from the beginning of their precious lives we make mistakes with our children and they forgive us immediately. Did you ever forget to change a diaper?  Have you ever run out of formula or milk and your little one had to wait a little longer than normal for lunch?  Did any of your babies ever roll off a couch or bed onto the floor even though you only moved away for a moment? These are all things that happen to our babies when we are young mothers and they still forgive us.  When they were school age, did you ever forget to pick one of them up from school?  How many times have you heard cries for clean clothes from down the hall and then proceeded to send someone out into the world in dirty clothes or clothing that doesn't necessarily fit? At the end of the day, they hug you and tell you they love you. There is no greater reward than that! 
  2. No one will ever love your baby as much as you do - Every mother knows this from the moment they first hold their baby and they begin to feel that bond that is formed in those first few days of life. It is unbreakable. You take that little bundle into your arms, kiss their little cheek and gaze into their little eyes and realize this person is a combination of you and your husband and you are instantly in love. Prior to becoming a parent you may have been afraid of some things but now, you are fearless!  You are a protector, you are a teacher, you are a guide and you are a spiritual marker for everything they will need in this life.  No one can fill your shoes and you wouldn't want anyone to try so give it your all and do the best job you can do!
  3. You don't have to be perfect -  Thank heavens!  If being perfect were a requirement for being a mother, there wouldn't be many mothers - despite what some people might have you think.  We have all made the mistake of looking at others and believing that their lives are joyful and easy but in most cases, this just isn't true.  If you make a mistake, take the time to learn from it and don't do it again.  If something goes wrong, learn from it and remember what you gained from the experience.  Please don't judge yourself by what other people are doing because you are not meant to be just like someone else and your child needs you to be the person that meets their needs.  You won't be able to meet their needs if you are trying to be "Polly Perfect."
  4. You are going to learn patience, whether you want to or not - Patience is a virtue and there is no denying that.  I'm not sure that it matters what age you are but patience is something that you are going to learn along the way. Embrace this virtue even in the toughest of times because your children are watching and soaking up every word you say and watching every action you take.  They need you to be patient with them now not only because you are their teacher and their guide but also because they are learning what they should be like when they grow up.  Don't you have specific memories of your parents that stick out in your mind?  I hope the ones my children have of me are good but I have my doubts!
  5. You will become a good listener - When your babies are little you have to do all the talking but once they are able to use their voices and communicate with you, you have the opportunity to listen and learn from them.  Listening is such an important part of mothering and it is something that we sometimes feel like we don't have a lot of time to do.  IMPORTANT, IMPORTANT, IMPORTANT! If you don't take the time to listen to your children when they are young, they won't want to talk to you as they get older because they know you aren't interested. Having a good verbal relationship with your children is so important at every stage but most importantly during those rough teenage years but if you have waited until those years to start paying attention, you may have waited just a little too long.  Keep the lines of communication open by being the parent who talks but more importantly listens.  
  6. You have best friends that will last for the rest of your life!  I have read many articles that have made strong suggestions that as a parent, you should not worry about being a friend to your children. This advice does not make any sense to me because if you want your children to come to you when they have problems or need advice and council, they will not get anywhere near you if they don't feel like you can also be trusted as a parent AND as a friend.  Being a friend to your children does not mean that you are no longer in charge but it does mean that you have put yourself on a level where they can reach you and converse with you in a way that is comfortable for them.  Your job as a parent is to lead and guide them through life's troubled waters so why wouldn't you want to be their friend so that when they need your help, they don't have to reach too far?  As a parent with older children I can tell you that I am loving the relationships that I have with all of my adult children now as much as I did when they were smaller.  Along with my husband, they are my best friends and I could talk to them each and every day and never feel like it was enough. They would probably not agree with me on this point though!
  7. You have an eternal bond with your children that cannot be broken. Just by virtue of the fact that your body has created this beautiful miracle and given him/her life, binds you to them for the rest of your days. When your child cries, talks or just hums, it stirs something in you that makes you automatically react. You are connected to your children physically and spiritually and even the most mundane things they might do are miraculous to you.  Why?  Because they are a part of who you are and from the time you found out that you were expecting, life has revolved around them and what they are doing.  You know that whatever they do, wherever they end up and whatever their life experience is that you are invested in their life and you want to see them succeed.
  8. Your children will bring you pure joy - One of the great things about being a parent is that they can turn a truly horrible day into a glorious one.  I have had days where I have felt like things were so bad that nothing could make them right again but once I walk through the door and see those sweet faces - even if they are covered in peanut butter and jelly and pleading for my help - my whole existence and demeanor can turn.  It is amazing how just sitting down and holding your children, no matter how old they are, can lift your spirit and make you feel just a little bit better.  My personal opinion is that this happens because you have that eternal bond with them.  Even the smallest of children want their parent's to be happy and they will try to make you smile with a funny face, a silly joke or a hug.  These gifts are priceless and melt your heart.  If you haven't had one of these experiences yet, wait.  It is coming!
  9. Children make you a better person - It is true that a good spouse can help to make you a better person but it is also true that children make you a better person - for all the reasons I stated above and more.  Even a parent who maybe lacks the enthusiasm and spunk to keep up with helicopter parents knows that the skills learned while parenting strengthen a person and push you to strive for more than what you are.  You want to be good for your children not just because you know they are watching everything you do (and they are) but also because you know that they are a reflection of you. When your children are teenagers they might say they don't want to be anything like you but the truth is that in many ways, they will be just like you.  Don't you want that to be a good thing?
  10. Becoming a grandma - To me, this is of course the best part of being a mother - becoming a grandmother.  It just means that the mothering goes on and on and on and that makes the end of your own child rearing not seem so sad.  I have looked forward to this day for a long time and now that I have a few grandchildren, I can say that being a grandma is the coolest thing - EVER!  I don't get to see them very often because we live so far apart but I can tell you that in my eyes, the world revolved around my children and it still does.  It now stops turning on in axis - for my grandchildren.  
The next time someone starts to complain about how mothering is hard, inconvenient or making them tired, pull out one of these great thoughts and help them see the light of day.  Parenting is always going to have it's challenges but it is what you do with those challenges every day that will shape how you feel about being a mom.  It is the greatest job in the world and I for one am glad that I had the opportunity to work in this field and to have the children that I have.  For me, they have been the best!

I love you, Elizabeth, Jennifer, Alex and Matthew. 

I put Elizabeth first this time because she says she is always last.  Never in my book, Elizabeth!

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